There are two unpleasant assumptions in the tenor of letters from gun enthusiasts (Michael Keeffe Dec. 27 andWalter Drysdale Dec. 21) and their online accompaniments (Gordon Ansleigh Dec. 21). The first is that these writers are more intelligent than the common ruck; that the only reason others could have for disagreeing with their extremist positions is that they are tools of some dark purpose. The fact is that there is as large a pool of reflective, intelligent citizens who pray for some restrictions on the race to an armed camp in this country as there is a pool of determined gun enthusiasts who seem to have no bound on the types of weapons and ammo they think should be available to the public.
The second assumption is that people who are members of the National Rifle Association are somehow superior citizens and better Americans than those who are not. This assertion is unknowable as crime statistics are not correlated with NRA membership by any law enforcement agencies.
We do, however, know many of the gifts that the NRA has bequeathed the U.S. due to its immense lobbying influence: as a matter of law, there is no registry of handgun serial numbers so that when a weapon first becomes used in a crime, law enforcement must work from private records starting with the manufacturer and working down through handwritten entries to attempt to trace the sales track of that criminal device; there is no registry of long gun ownership, nor even a similar system to that for handguns for tracing the origin of semiautomatic assault rifles used in crimes; there are no restrictions on the types or capacities of magazines available for semiautomatic weapons; there is no limit on the type of ammunition that may be used from dum-dum shells to Teflon-coated armor-penetrating cop-killer bullets; there is no micro-stamping of firing-pins that would definitively associate shell casings with weapons; there is no micro-taggant identification of propellants that would trace ammo to suppliers; there are no restrictions on the sale of weapons at gunshows or the use of strawman buyers for passing these into the criminal community.
The Second Amendment supports weapons ownership with the proviso of a well-regulated militia. What the NRA and the gun industry it shills for want is a completely unregulated situation. It is this hypocrisy that is so galling to those of us who enjoy and own guns, yet must watch in amazement as the drumbeat of fear instilled by the NRA inspires people to rush out and buy ever more unsanely potent weaponry.
John Sisson, Newcastle